By Hans Ebert
It was my last girlfriend who tried to wean me off it- Twitter. Though pointing out that it was taking over my life and, without me even realising it, detonating any chance of trying to make our relationship work, I refused to listen. I was lost to the clutter of 140 words or less. Instead of there being one less bell to answer, it was adding another empty online junkie’s lament dressed and disguised as some bluebird of happiness. Progress has created some dangerous addictions. It might explain much about a world having lost its way. Lost with no direction of home. Refusing to recognise the tell tale signs.
She filmed a “day in my life” to prove her point- the inordinate amount of time spent trolling through Twitter and engaging in senseless and often puerile banter with many whom I didn’t know and never will plus the number of hours spent tweeting when all this time could have been spent being one together and writing music, stories, poems and just getting out there into the real world and trying to find reality bytes that one might find interesting.
Instead, there I was living 24/7 on information overload where clutter was elevated into something “important” together with being bombarded by the constant everything that was “trending”, most of which was always bad or disturbing news. Think this doesn’t affect people’s thinking? No? Really? Don’t think that this is another addiction? This is not some “wisdom of the crowd”. It’s the dumbing down of society.
The mind can only take so much and this particular girlfriend could only accept so much. Despite having closed my Facebook and Instagram accounts as they were becoming addictive and unhealthy pastimes, I was clinging onto Twitter. It was either her or Twitter and she made the choice easy for me. She wished me the best and left.
Her leaving made me think about how much time I had been spending checking my iPhone and how every morning would start with a vigorous workout on Twitter that would average around three hours. Three HOURS.
Meanwhile, the newspaper was delivered, but never read. Go figure. The television flickered away in the background with the sound off. My daily “fitness regime” consisted of lying in bed and reading tweets for hours before taking a much needed break by having a nap.
Those pre-Twitter years of discovering new restaurants, going for walks, making time for two hours of stretching and crunches and twice a week of reflexology had been replaced with, well, Twittering.
It was about checking on new followers, seeing how many had dropped off, and instead of muting and blocking tweets sent which had zero interest to me, actually encouraging them while being caught up in bad spelling, horrendous grammar, and if following horse racing in the land down under, unable not to ignore the constant vitriol and 140 words or less of jockey bashing by those either tweeting through their pockets and or else flushed by some hidden anger.
Anger is contagious. Anger is a predator. Anger can take over your being. If you let it. The mind needs to unwind and chill. Overwork it and…
Today? Today, I feel like Django unchained. The constant migraines are gone. The iPhone is almost always off. People have been blocked from contacting me. I’m no longer having to read stories tweeted which I never believed to be true, and coming into contact with the good, the bad, the ugly and those living on the lonely planet called the twitterverse.
Hello, real world. It might not be perfect. But it’s what I make of it. It’s not being led by the nose and believing everything everyone tweets. It’s called returning to the power of original thinking. And unlearning a lifestyle that had no life and which really wasn’t for me.
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